Alexandria, the tiny Missouri town that was ravaged during the recent flooding of the Mississippi River, has been adopted by the town of Mount Airy.
"This place is totally, completely destroyed," said Suzanne Mead, publicity chairman for Mount Airy's Flood Relief Committee. "Five hundred people are all homeless."
Donations totaling $6,000 have been delivered to Alexandria Mayor Bob Davis and another $1,000 will soon be in the mail, said Mrs. Mead. She said Mayor Davis has the money on hold while it is decided how it can best serve Alexandria's residents.
The problem in helping Alexandria recover is that the levee that protected the town from the nearby river must be repaired by the Army Corps of Engineers before the town can rebuild.
Each rain threatens the town with more flooding until the levee is repaired. Meanwhile, the town's 125 families are living in trailers and campers about 20 miles away.
Several activities are being planned by Marylanders who want to help Alexandria. The most recent addition to the roster of fund-raisers is a dance set for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 5. A local band, Retrospect, has volunteered its musical talents.
Frederick's Holiday Inn has donated its 500-person ballroom, said Mrs. Mead.
The generosity of the band and the hotel will allow the proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the flood-relief effort.
Tickets will cost $25 per couple or $15 per person. A cash bar will be featured.
Tickets will be sold as soon as they are printed. More information will follow on this and other events planned by Mount Airy's Flood Relief Committee as they are released.
The committee meets weekly and invites anyone to attend who is interested in helping a small town in desperate need of assistance.
The committee's next meeting will be at 3 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Olde Town Restaurant, 206 S. Main St., Mount Airy.
High school stadiums with towering rows of uncomfortable seats, faraway bathrooms, and restless crowds of roving teen-agers attract two different but equally dedicated types of people each fall: football fans and marching band boosters.
With four daughters, no comprehension of football, and no pigskin enthusiasts in our immediate family, I am a member of the latter group. I love marching bands.
I gained this appreciation for the marching, maneuvering and musical skills required for a successful band performance when Daughter No. 2 joined South Carroll High School's band front in her freshman year.
Four years as a band parent gave me the opportunity to watch half-time shows be polished to perfection for each fall's series of marching competitions.
Until band parenthood, I never realized that band members must give up a month of summer vacation to the demands of band camp, where they repeat drills in the August heat to learn the season's show.
I didn't know the number of weekday evenings required for practice, nor the treasured Friday evenings and Saturdays that would go to performances. I had no idea of the dedication it takes to balance one's band duties with studies, other school activities, family responsibilities and a social life.
I've seen students from West Virginia to Pennsylvania pull their shoulders back and lift their chins proudly to give dedicated performances in intense heat, pouring rain, bitter cold and a snowstorm. I've read the agony of defeat and the joy of victory on band members' faces at competitions where judges give points and pointers on their performances.
Nicki's graduation in June may have put me in the category of former band parent, but I continue to have an undying respect for band members who give so much of themselves to be the musical ambassadors of their school.
If you're one of those people who jump up at the end of the second quarter and miss the halftime show, why not take a moment to appreciate the efforts of the band? Postpone that run to the snack bar and watch the drills, listen to the music and appreciate the pageantry of the performance.
Musical ambassadors from schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia will travel to South Carroll High School this fall for two Tournament of Bands competitions.
The Cavalier Classic, South Carroll High's annual competition for so-called Chapter 13 bands, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, in the school's outdoor stadium on Old West Liberty Road, adjacent to the Winfield Fire Department.
Chapter 13 is one of 13 regional designations in the Tournament of Bands, an independent organization of East Coast marching bands. Bands compete in tournaments in their chapter to earn points to qualify for competition in each chapter's end-of-the-season tournament. Bands that earn enough points qualify to compete in the grand finale: the East Coast Championship, which is usually held mid-November in a distant, frosty location, such as Scranton, Pa.
Pat Reisner, president of the South Carroll band booster club, says 13 bands will compete in next weekend's tournament. The event, which serves as a fund-raiser for the band boosters, features trophies for winners in four categories based on the band's number of instrumentalists. South Carroll's band, as the host, will not compete but will give an exhibition at the end of the evening as judges tally the scores.
Mrs. Reisner says all of Carroll County's five high schools will participate in the Cavalier Classic. Four "Group Four" bands -- Westminster, Linganore, South Hagerstown and Carlisle high schools -- will compete.
Group Four bands, which must have at least 81 musicians, look like an army when they line up to perform and provide very impressive shows. Each participant's show will last about 15 minutes. Plenty of food, including pit roast beef sandwiches and pizza, will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting the South Carroll band.
Tickets for the rain-or-shine Cavalier Classic have just been printed and are being sold for $5 for adults and $2 for students. For ticket information, call Joe Mentzell, (410) 875-2750.
The Sept. 18 event will be a trial run for South Carroll's first Chapter 13 Championship on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. at the school stadium.
All 28 bands in Chapter 13 will be invited to compete in the Nov. 6 championship. Being host of the "Chapters" represents quite a challenge to Band Booster volunteers who must orchestrate buses, equipment, parents, band members, judges and spectators into a harmonious event.
South Carroll's marching band will give its first official performance at a Tournament of Bands in Hedgesville, W.Va., on Sept. 11.